I love baking from scratch. There is something therapeutic. But while I love baking from scratch sometimes convenience takes over. Like in the case of these strawberry trifle puddings.

While making the fried chicken from Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen cookbook, I stumbled on this recipe for Strawberry Custard Trifle. I love layered jar cakes and with strawberries in season this dessert sounded perfect to make. The recipe calls for box cake mix and I don’t use box cake mixes. My original plan was to make my own cake and make this recipe. Things did not go as planned. I had people coming over and while the meal was entirely homemade and from scratch (dal makhani, butter chicken, bhindi and dahi bhalla) I cheated a little with the dessert. As far as I remember this is probably the first time I have used a box cake mix in a dessert. But it was so worth it.

Francine Bryson, the author of Country Cooking, calls these trifles packaged ingredients artfully put together. Served in mason jars, it does make for a pretty presentation. My guests loved these and with a few homemade additions, this dessert was a big hit. This would be perfect for Memorial Day or for summer entertaining !

P.S: Trifles are a great way to rescue dry or cracked cakes!

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New York Cheesecake between two layers of red velvet cake

I am in love with this cake!

Red velvet. Yes.

Cheesecake. Yesss.

Cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of red velvet cake topped with cream cheese frosting. Hell Yesss!!

I made this for the first time almost a year back. As an experiment. I had a small 6 inch red velvet cake left from an order, and while thinking of ways to use it for our personal use, I wondered how a cheesecake layer sandwiched in between two red velvet cakes would taste. Turns out, after a quick google search, I had already been beaten to the idea. Thank You Cheesecake Factory! But that didn’t bother me- because I was going to make AND EAT a red velvet cheesecake cake! Who cares who thought of it first!

New York Cheesecake between two layers of red velvet cakeNew York Cheesecake between two layers of red velvet cake

If you love cheesecake and if you love red velvet, you in all likelihood would love this red velvet cheesecake cake. We loved it. My parents and I enjoyed every bite of it. (I need to come up with a better, shorter name though- any suggestions?)

I had baked a New York cheesecake only once before and that was a while back. I could not find the recipe I used, but after going through several recipes I found this one and I knew I would not be disappointed. I was not.

For the red velvet cake I used a recipe I developed after several trials of a recipe I was already using. Red velvet was one of my most popular flavors when I was running TPC and this recipe was made almost every day. I love the moistness that oil gives to a cake, but I also love the taste that butter brings with it. A combination of the two worked well for me and my customers and thats what I use in this recipe.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I have had eyes on this crumb cake for almost 7 years (or maybe more). If you have the memory of an elephant (and have been reading all my posts) then you would probably remember me mentioning that Smitten Kitchen was one of the first blogs I started following. This was much before I started my own blog. Around the time I was introduced to her blog, I stumbled upon her rhubarb crumb cake post. With one third cake and two thirds streusel topping, I knew this was a cake for me.

It took Deb eight months to make the cake after getting her hands on the recipe. It has taken me 7 years. When I first saw the recipe I was still living in India. I am not sure if it is available now, but 7 years back rhubarb wasn’t a fruit you got in India. It did not strike me that I could just use strawberries and still have a big crumb coffee cake, or probably it did but I wanted a rhubarb crumb coffee cake and let the recipe be. So instead of going with another fruit, to get my fix of this big crumb coffee cake I would just open Deb’s site and drool over the pictures.

Rhubarb Crumb CakeRhubarb Crumb Cake

Even after moving to the US, being in a small town in Arizona I would always miss out on rhubarb season and the chance of baking this cake. When I saw rhubarb in the market in Dallas, I had no doubt that I would finally be making the cake I have dreamt of making for so many years now. And I am so glad I did. This cake did not disappoint.

The crumb is the best part and it does make a lot of the cake. When I was scraping the batter in the pan I was surprised at how little the quantity was and was afraid that it would be just crumb. Fortunately the cake does rise in the oven and I had a good ratio of cake to crumb.

This cake would be perfect for Mother’s Day this weekend. Can’t find rhubarb? Make it with strawberries. I would go ahead to suggest to add strawberries along with your rhubarb too if you wish. Deb suggests blueberry, raspberry, sour cherry or any other tangy fruit filling. In case using a different fruit, you will need to adjust the sugar level accordingly. Rhubarb being more tart needs more sugar.

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Talking about Mother’s Day, I thought about doing a round up of a few recipes on the blog that are courtesy my mom.

My love for baking stems from the countless home made cakes my mom baked for us when we were growing up. Her constant experimentation in the kitchen and whipping up dishes we had never heard of but loved eating is why all of three of us (my dad, brother and I) have such a love for food. These are some of her most asked for recipes and I have rounded them up for Mother’s Day for you. They would be perfect for Mother’s Day brunch or for any other occasion or even for a weeknight meal. (Click on the picture or the title for the recipe)

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